Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sellers #1 Piece of Advice

There is an increase in buying activity. That DOES NOT mean we will see an increase in pricing. Remember the ’supply and demand’ curve. Supply is still too plentiful. Price your home to sell now. This is the best chance you have to sell your house and get on with the life situation that caused you to originally put the property on the market. (adapted from

Thursday, September 24, 2009

First Things First

I am often told "I have never bought a house before and I have no idea where to start." If you are in this situation, here are some tips...
Before you even start searching online, making sign calls, driving around neighborhoods, etc., talk to a lender. This could be the bank where you have your checking account, a credit union, the one closest to your office, etc. You can also find many lenders online, but I caution folks (especially first timers!) against finding a lender this way. There are a lot of reasons for this, but to put it simply, you need someone you can go to face to face who will be accountable to you and your agent for present and future business. (My local Allen Tate rep is great... just email
A lot of times people respond to this advice by saying they want to look around, find a house, and then speak to their lender. Don't do this! Nothing is worse than finding your dream home, making plans, and then realizing you don't qualify for the mortgage needed to purchase it. From that point on, nothing will look as good as that "first love." You may even find out you can afford more than you thought. At least get a pre-qualification so you will have a ballpark figure of what you can afford, and often, this can be done over the phone.
Next, hire a buyer agent. All agents in NC are assumed to work for the seller (even if they have never met the seller), and you need someone on your side, working for you and looking out for your best interests. Buyer agency costs nothing and can save you a ton.
There are many many things you need to know, but with an honest and responsible lender and agent by your side, you are ready to go!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Warning!

According to the Mortgage Bankers' Association and RealtyTimes, 1 of every 308 housing units nationwide received a foreclosure filing in August '09. At the end of August, there were 1,957,073 foreclosures nationwide, with 358,471 of them new in July. Interestingly, only 33,515 sold in July, so that shadow inventory is becoming a real issue as more and more home sellers find themselves competing with foreclosures. The average sales price nationwide for foreclosures is $202,566.

On a brighter note, Forsyth County is 367th in the nation for foreclosure activity.

Surprisingly, conventional loans are 1 in 3 of new foreclosure filings -- thus the importance of offering Job Loss Protection on your listings!

Finally, a word of caution -- if you are attempting a loan modification with your lender, and they tell you you are not responsible for your payments as they make the decision, make the payments anyway and document them! Some people are being foreclosed on due to lack of payment during this decision period, when the lender is who told them to stop in the first place.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wall Street Journal

An article in the Wall Street Journal on September 8 cites Moody''s chief economist Mark Zandy stating that almost 400,000 new and existing home sales are attributable to the $8000 first time home buyer tax break. Maybe the government will take this to heart and either raise the credit or offer it to ALL home buyers, first timers or not. Doubtful, but we can dream.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Quick Sale

More home sellers these days are asking me "What can I do to MOVE this place?" With the abundance of inventory that we (and most areas) have, there are a few things that are crucial to make you stand out from the rest. First, you shouldn't just be priced competitively -- you need to be the most competitive. On a street where similar homes are priced $215,000 to $229,000, you need to be at $209,000 or less. You will be going up against distressed properties, and those often have not had the best exterior maintenance. So, exterior cosmetic improvements, such as pressure washing or new pine needles, can really make your home stand out. Making your home a sweet and speedy sale helps too. Just offering a home warranty is no longer enough -- you need to offer a home warranty, a year's worth of HOA fees paid, Job Loss Protection (available through your Allen Tate Realtor), a new refrigerator, closing cost assistance, etc. -- the more the better! Verbiage such as "Available Immediately" in your advertising will inform the consumer that unlike the short sale down the street, that could take 6 or more months to close, yours can be available in 30 days. This is especially important for relocating buyers, who are still extremely common here in the Triad.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Living is Easy...

Ever wish you had a fairy godmother who could snap her fingers and make all of your yard work disappear? Or one who could move your laundry from upstairs to downstairs with the flip of a switch? Well, at 1117 Muirfield Avenue in Cobblestone (Salem Glen), you get the next best thing! The homeowner's association covers all lawncare, and in this particular unit, all the necessities (laundry, garage, kitchen, living room, baths, and bedrooms) are on one level... how carefree you could be! An upper level bonus room is perfect for visitors, teens, or as a "man cave," and the unfinished attic space provides storage space galore. The kitchen is wonderful with plenty of counter space, an island, and breakfast area. A great room with gas logs & hardwoods opens to a small patio as well as the formal dining room, while the master is blissfully located away from the other bedrooms. Salem Glen has pool, tennis, and golf amenities (different membership fees apply), so why look elsewhere? Visit for a photo tour, and for more information about Salem Glen Golf and Country Club, visit